My daughter is 4 and I’d like to get her a nice collection of Fairy Tales. She is, of course, familiar with a lot of the Disney versions. We also watch a lot of Super Why on PBS, which twists the fairy tales a bit. I have no idea what a good book collection would be, short of standing in a bookstore and flipping through anything I could find. Does anyone have a nice one with lots of stories? Or even two or three nice ones? She has a great Mother Goose that we do now, with way more poems than I’ve ever heard in my life, so now I’d like the Fairy Tales!
My daughter Attacklass also recommends James Harriot’s books about animals.
Could you be more specific about what kind of fairy tales you want? The available collections range from re-told, cleaned-up versions with edutainment-style morals embedded to traditional, field-collected stuff with occasional sex and extreme violence. For older children I like Andrew Lang’s coloured fairy book series, but (1) the Victorian English is probably a bit much for a four-year-old, and (2) the illustrations are few and far between. You might do well with Jane Yolen’s Favorite Folktales from around the World. Are you looking to read them aloud to her, or something to read along with her (i.e. a picture book)?
The Storyteller, with John Hurt.
Unfortunately it’s OOP, but you can still get a used copy for $25 (at the time of this posting) at amazon.
My favorite childhood book was The Tall Book of Make-Believe, by Jane Werner. I remember spending hours, just looking at the illustrations. I still have my copy, though it’s raggedy and tattered.
Sadly, the book is out of print, and rather expensive.
I’m looking for something that, for now, I can read-aloud, but that won’t be so hard that she’ll have to be 10 before she can read it herself. Pictures are a must, but don’t have to be on every page. For example, I will read her the Little House books and she loves them! But her grandmother got her 4 or 5 of the picture book versions, and she loves to turn the pages herself and “read” the story she knows already. I also am reading her Alice in Wonderland right now, and I’m reading the actual book. There are times where I have to skim or stop and explain what I’m reading, but she loves the stories, so it’s all good!
So I’m not looking for any kind of heavy, in-depth book about Fairy Tales. I’m looking for something I can read to a four year old. But it doesn’t have to be a short little easy reader, since I’m the person who will be reading it! When I type in “Fairy Tales” to Amazon, loads of stuff comes up, so I’m just trying to weed through it.
(On a side note, I’m really hoping for a Christmas of books or even movies, not more toys to clutter the house with. Let’s just say that one set of grandparents doesn’t get that!!! My daughter rarely plays with toys. She just likes to pack them in suitcases and purses, then pile them out to repack other things.)
A good strategy might be to filter the Amazon fairy tale collections with the great classic illustrators: Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, and the other guy. (Sorry, that’s not very helpful.) It will be the sort of book she’ll keep for life. I’ll also second the Opie reference above. I’m looking around for John Bauer’s book of Swedish Fairy Tales, but it seems to be out of print. Anything in the Pantheon Folk and Fairy Tale series is probably good as well, but those tend to be physically large books, unwieldy for a young reader.
For a very young child, I think Wanda Gag’s book of Grimm’s fairy tales is an excellent read-aloud starting place. You’ll know Gag from “Millions of Cats.” You can probably get a copy at your library for a test read. It’s called “Tales from Grimm.”
Second the Andrew Lang collections. I had a half dozen of those from the time I started reading. Some of them scared the poop out of me at the time, but I love them to this day. I credit those books with raising my level of reading comprehension, too.
Warning: Do not get the all-in-one version of the Lang books. It’s horribly small letters and not good at all to read from.
Oh gosh, be careful what you get. I was warped for life after receiving a book full of grotesque and violent scary Grimm’s fairy tales when I was little - I’m talking nightmares for months after. Even today I can’t look at that book (yes, I still have it) without shuddering… My very own daughter took exception to some horrendous illustration in an otherwise beautiful book she got as a present - and she, too, flipped out - wouldn’t sleep without a light on, tears at bedtime 'cause of the ‘scary whatever-it-was’ might be under the bed…Though we watched and enjoyed immensely Shelley Duvall’s Fairy Theater videos,
Thanks everyone! I’ll be looking at all the recommendations.